The author investigates the applicability of the word ““terroir”” to chocolate. As a Master of Wine, wine journalist, and wine educator, the author has tried to understand how ““terroir,”” the environmental and human factors associated with growing vines and making wine, impacts the flavor of wine. Comparing and contrasting viticulture and winemaking to cacao farming and chocolate manufacture, the author analyzes to what degree terroir could be a concept that informs chocolate appreciation. He notes that the great distances between cacao farms and factories encourage the perception of cacao and chocolate as commodities. He observes that the varietal and origin nomenclature of cacao can be at worst misleading and generally lacks clarity and precision. He shows how the many steps that transform cacao into chocolate threaten the expression of terroir in the final product. Yet he acknowledges that there could be a basis for use of the word in the world of cacao and chocolate.

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